WEST LIBERTY – The West Virginia Wesleyan Bobcats didn't back down from the number one team in America today against the West Liberty Hilltoppers in a Mountain East Conference contest, but unfortunately for Wesleyan they came up just short on the scoreboard.
West Liberty survived with a 79-67 victory.
Wesleyan was down 13-7 with seven minutes ticked off the clock, but Anthony Richards buried a three-pointer, Tanner McGrew made a jumper and Taylor Price (pictured) swished in a basket to give the Bobcats a 14-13 advantage with 11:03 remaining in the first half.
It was the only lead though Wesleyan would have despite keeping the game close.
Wesleyan was down by two, at 31-29, after a Garrett Grantham jumper with 90 seconds remaining, but West Liberty ran off the next five points for a 36-29 lead with 13 seconds left in the first half.
Richards took a pass from Grantham and knocked down a three just prior to the buzzer to make it a 36-32 score at the break.
West Liberty built on their lead during the first nine minutes of the second half, increasing it to 18 at 61-43.
Wesleyan though fought back with an 8-0 run to close the score to 61-51 with 8:32 remaining.
McGrew knocked down two free throws, Grantham flipped in a jumper and tacked on a free throw after being fouled and Chris Dewberry launched in a three-pointer during the run.
Wesleyan couldn't cut into the lead any deeper as West Liberty still led by 10, at 75-65, with 1:39 left in the contest.
West Liberty pushed their lead out to 79-65 before Price wrapped up the scoring with a jumper.
Wesleyan put four players in double digits.
McGrew led the team with 15 points, Grantham tacked on 14, Price added 13 and Richards put in 12.
McGrew grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.
Wesleyan actually outshot West Liberty from the floor.
The Bobcats shot the ball at a 50 percent clip while West Liberty shooting percentage was 48.3.
West Liberty improved to 8-0 in the MEC and 13-0 overall.
The Bobcats of head coach Gary Nottingham dropped to 3-5 in the MEC and 5-9 overall.
The 'Cats will return to action Monday as they host Wheeling Jesuit at 7:30 p.m.
(File photo courtesy of Peter Galarneau Jr.)